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Little Victories & Fruit

The other night, a friend and I went to a coffee shop together and talked for nearly 3 hours! It was soo refreshing. Something that I noticed to be a thread in our conversation was what I like to refer to as “little victories”. These victories are moments that we often overlook or take for granted, but in reality are a miracle that is happening by God’s power. I want to show that these moments are what many Christians neglect to call “fruit”.  I want to describe “little victories” to you and why it is so important for the Christian to recognize them as fruit, too.

What is Fruit?

The Bible refers to a Christian’s “fruit” or “fruitfulness” a number of times. Many are specifically referring to a strengthening in numbers or the physical condition of a place (i.e valley, field, etc). But, at times fruit is refereed to as evidence and also as a spiritual harvest.

Evidential & Evangelistic Fruit

An example of this is Philippians 1:22-24, “If I am to live in the flesh, that means a fruitful labor for me..to remain in my flesh is more necessary on your account.” In this passage, Paul is debating on which is better, life of death? Death is better for him, but his life is better for their sake, because his labor is considered “fruitful”. What was he laboring for? V25, “for (their) progress and joy in the faith, so that in (Paul they) may have ample cause to glory in Christ.” Their progress is what made the labor fruitful. So, this is an example of evangelistic, but also evidential fruit (fruit that shows proof of faith).”

Another, more clear, evidential fruit analogy is in John 15. In verse 5 Jesus says, “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” This whole passage clearly shows that a true, born again believer, will have fruit, or evidence, that he is in Christ. If you want to know more specifically what those evidences are I recommend searching for them in 1 John.

Fruitfulness is Not a Cookie-Cutter Experience

So, what does this “fruit” have to do with Little Victories? Well, fruitfulness can’t be judged in a cookie-cutter fashion. Each person progresses differently. For example, last year at a college campus there was a group of students reaching out to international students. Only one person became a Christian within a couple years of laboring and so many students were discouraged and thus determined that the international ministry was “unfruitful”. I disagreed with that.

Salvation is not the only fruit that exists. In fact, most times that the Bible talks about “fruit” it isn’t talking about a Salvation Experience. A fruitful moment can be when someone in your family, in your dorm, or at your work place goes from never discussing God to asking you to pray for them. It can be when someone confides in you what they really believe about the Bible. Or it can be when a person may confess sin to you, even if they still remain a non-Christian. Those are still a Little Victories or Fruit, because it is showing a movement towards Jesus.

An example that is not so much evangelistic, but evidential is when it occurs within a believer. I’ll use myself as an example. The way that I have been designed is very different from my old classmate and friend, “Jim”. I am very confident in myself if I’m having a theological & philosophical discussion in a small group or one-on-one. I used to think I was so bold in sharing the gospel and truth because of this gift. But, it did not take many philosophy courses in college to show me how much of a scardy-cat I am in a class size setting, without a plan, and with no opportunity to take back my words if I were to mess up. I can remember a number of times where I sat in disobedience because I would not open my mouth. Jim, however, was excellent with speaking up in class. He took advantage of that setting and really stood as my role model. Sharing truth one-on-one might not have been much of a challenge or victory for me, but when I spoke up about the gospel in class – that was fruit, that was a victory for me.

Not Just Jargon

My objective is not to change the way we use lingo. Not recognizing fruit in the smaller, more subtle ways can really crush a Christian’s spirit. If we fail to recognize and praise God over this kind of fruit we will encounter the following problems…

  1. We will give up too quickly on people. Yes, we want to move where the Spirit is moving when we are sharing the gospel. But, could the Spirit be moving in someone’s life and you aren’t recognizing it? What if someone is being pursued by Jesus and we say, “Eh, he’s just not interested because he didn’t come to the retreat.” or “I’ve shared the gospel a couple of times and she still hasn’t surrendered.” Look for little victories in this person’s life, before deciding to move forward.
  2. We will fail to recognize God’s grace in our life as a believer. Can you recall what God has been growing you in lately? What have you recently repented of? When was the last time you picked obedience to Jesus instead of something else? If we aren’t seeing God move in mighty, but quiet ways we will fail to see God’s faithfulness to conforming us to the image of his Son, Jesus.
  3. We will dive into self-righteousness or self-pity. Building off of #2, if we are not seeing God work we will either (1) see ourselves as the one working or (2) we will believe nothing is working.

Experiencing these three outcomes will drastically affect your marriage, relationships with believers, witness to the non-believer, and personal walk with God. Let’s make it a great aim of ours to see these Little Victories and worship God in response to them!

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